It is absolutely amazing how we adapt ourselves to social norms and how they change so drastically as we move through the different phases of our lives. 17 years ago I got married because I had to. No one asked me if I really wanted to, or if I had thought this whole thing through, or if it was indeed the right thing for me to do. For most, it was the natural progression of life. You get to a certain age and you get married. Then, before you get to a certain age, you have a child. But wait, one is not enough. That child needs company, so you hurry up and have another so that there isn’t a huge age gap between the siblings and you hope they will grow up as best buddies and all your troubles will be over. No one asks you if you really want a child or if it is indeed the right choice for you. No one shows concern when you get pregnant the second time about whether the kids will indeed get along. What if they make your life a living hell? Again, just our natural way of following norms and living our lives that seem to be in par with everyone around us.
So, what happens when you follow those same norms on your own terms?
You notice how quickly people around you react drastically different to similar situations.
Are you sure you want to get married?
Shouldn’t you wait it out a bit more?
You are so social and he’s not, how will that work?
Are you sure the kids will get along?
What if they don’t?
Have you thought this through?
Oh, the irony!
It took me a long while to be able to shed my inhibitions and follow my heart. To do things that brought me simple joy, live for myself, and not be led to feel guilty for putting myself first. Through all my hardships I realized, catering to myself was the only way I could cater to others. There were so many who tried really hard to make me believe I was ruining my child’s life by carving out my own life-path. Of all the battles and stigma I have fought in my life, this was by far the hardest. And once I overcame that, life was not only beautiful, but simple. From thereon, there was no going back.
My next chapter in life is based on simplicity and love. In those two ways, me and my now husband are very similar.
From the time we met till now, “a whirlwind romance” as described by many, with all of the imperfections of blending families, we knew two things. We loved each other and wanted to continue to be who we are, together. It was as simple and real as that. And simple is beautiful. As was our wedding, with my flabby tummy with all its stretch marks that my beautiful daughter gifted me so unconditionally popping out of my beautiful wedding dress (it did take a while to get over that one), with us arguing about the kids and them driving us insane the night before the wedding, with my not-so-social now-husband staying up till the wee hours and hanging out with friends, with the wind screwing up almost everyone’s photos with hair covered faces, was the most imperfectly perfect way of coming together.
That being said, my answer to all those questions you had for me when as a mom at almost 40 I decided to marry the love of my life is, “this wedding is truly my first. It is everything I had ever dreamed of as a little girl of how love should be (read: husband cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, grocery shopping, and serving me wine in the evenings). I don’t know or care what the future holds. I want to live every day and every moment soaking in the love showered on me like I’ve never had before. I want to overcome hurdles together. I want us to take as many beach vacations as possible (does not always have to be together). As for the kids, they will figure it out, they kinda have to, right? We all did. Simple.